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Life as a civil engineering apprentice at Mott MacDonald Jay Bridges

There are so many benefits to an apprenticeship; you have the benefit of studying while working in the industry which means being able to apply what you’re learning in a real-world scenario, and you are earning while you are learning.

"I was drawn to Mott MacDonald because the course they were offering was guaranteed to give me a professional qualification"

I decided to apply for an apprenticeship because I realised during sixth form that I did not want to attend university full time. I wanted to go straight into the workplace, but still be able to develop my education.

When I was applying five years ago, there wasn’t the vast amount of information that is available now, so my family encouraged me to do my research to get an idea of what to expect.

I was drawn to engineering because I had always been fascinated with how things work; from model train sets to The Shard. When doing my research, I realised that the engineering industry is a lot more diverse than I initially thought, I decided I would apply, because I wanted to be able to work in a position where I can apply myself theoretically and still make a difference. That is how I fell into engineering consultancy.

I was drawn to Mott MacDonald because the course they were offering was guaranteed to give me a professional qualification and one of my favourite moments since joining the company so far has been getting my EngTech status with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

In my short career I have had the chance to work on a number of exciting and high-profile rail projects. My favourite would have to be the Northern Line Extension (NLE) project in London which looks at extending the existing Northern Line infrastructure from Kennington underground station to Battersea. I played a significant role in the development of the track and trackside assets of this project while also dealing with the principal contractor, sub-contractor and suppliers on a small section of the project. The aim was to achieve a realistic outcome that can be constructed and commissioned within a restricted timescale.

My role has been similar on all projects I’ve worked on. I have been able to gain the competency with Network Rail (NR), Personal Track Safety (PTS) and Industry Common Induction (ICI) which deems me as safe when working on a live railway. This has been beneficial as I have developed a detailed knowledge of health, safety and wellbeing related to railways. It has also been completely unexpected but being able to go on site and see construction work being undertaken or participating in a survey has been hugely beneficial to my personal and professional development.

I would encourage anyone coming into the industry to seriously look into the apprenticeship route, whether you’ve only completed your GCSEs or completed your GCSEs and A-levels. Make sure you research the role and the company before applying because the more knowledge you have about the field you’re applying for, the more likely you’ll get somewhere with it. There are so many benefits to an apprenticeship; you have the benefit of studying while working in the industry which means being able to apply what you’re learning in a real-world scenario, and you are earning while you are learning. It may not be the right route for everyone, but it’s worked for me and I cannot wait to graduate with a degree in civil engineering in two years’ time.

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